It’s easy to assume that things like bacon grease, drippings from roasted meat, frying oil and similar substances can just be washed down the drain. After all, they’re liquids, at least when they’re warm, right? Wrong. Greases and oils of all kinds should not be allowed down any of the drains in your home.
Why can’t grease and oil go down the drain?
The simple answer is that fats and oils cause clogs in pipes. You stop thinking about something the moment you wash it down the drain, but it has a long way to travel through a system of pipes, whether your home is connected to a local sewer or an on-site septic system.
The Best way to Dispose of Grease and Oil
Disposing of grease and oil can be a difficult thing if you don’t have a few basic things around the house. Hot fats, oils and greases should be left to cool, first of all. While greases solidify when cool, oils stay liquid at room temperature. Depending on how much grease or oil you’re dealing with, you can either soak up some oil with paper towel, or keep disposable containers like whipped cream tubs, mayo jars or the like on hand to pour greater amounts into. When the container is full, put the lid on and throw it in the trash.
If you deep-fat fry at home, keep old containers of oil to pour used oil into when the frying is done. Just make sure the oil is cooled down first. The main lesson here is fats and oils should be contained and thrown away in the garbage.
How to Clean Grease in Pipes
If someone has poured warm grease or cooking oil down your drain, causing a clog to form, you have options. Enzyme cleaners can break down grease slowly, but physical agitation is often better. In this case, let the grease solidify so you can break it up and pull as much of it out as you can with a drain snake. If you have a septic system, avoid using drain opener chemicals, as they will damage your septic system. In desperate situations where you have few options, or if you can’t reach the clog, you can also try pouring boiling water down the drain to soften grease so it flows through the pipes. This usually takes multiple treatments, however, so it can take time.